There's a powerful and pervasive TV stereotype of burnt-out 'special crimes' investigators. But nothing could be further from the persona of ex-cop Andrea Bradley. Smart, positive and highly motivated, she's more than happy to put the investigatory and digital forensic expertise developed over 13 years with Greater Manchester Police to the service of protecting children and developing e-safety.

Now a director with E-Safe Education, she's the kind of person you take seriously when she warns that "approximately 10 per cent of harmful multimedia content on school computers remains undetected by systems relying on keyword or phrase-based monitoring to protect children".

Sarah Neild and Tim RylandsSarah Neild and Tim RylandsAgent4change.net visitors can get an extra 10 per cent discount on top of the £100-off plus iPod Touch incentives for early-bird registration for Handheld Learning 2009 (valid until July 30). Just register online using the code "merlinhhl09".

John Davitt, Sir Tim Brighouse and Tim Rylands will head the significant home-grown inspiration at this year's event (Malcolm McLaren headlines as "agent provocateur"). And international presenters include James Paul Gee, and Professor Elizabeth Hayes, both from Arizona State University, David Cavallo, a leading light behind the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project, and Gordon Shukwit, Apple's director of IT and learning technologies.

By Maureen McTaggart
Zenna AtkinsOfsted's Zenna AtkinsChildren are using technology in a way that has left an enormous number of teachers and schools behind. And it's creating a big gap between "what pupils get out of school and what is relevant to their lives”, according to Zenna Atkins, chair of schools inspectorate Ofsted.

In an astonishingly frank presentation at Channel 4's "What Comes Next?" summer conference, she said we live in a "sound bite culture" where children are getting their information and knowledge from each other via mobile devices yet education is still "very long winded". (Audio here.)

Interesting news from the world of learning platforms courtesy of The Assignment Report. Microsoft's free Windows Live infrastructure - which includes Live@edu email and SkyDrive online storage for learners and teachers - is being made available through UniServity, the UK learning platfrom provider that claims to have captured 40 per cent of all local authority framework agreements.

Meanwhile, the Etech Group, the company that supplies the Studywiz learning platform (and access to free Google Apps and email for schools), is partnering with Serco to provide a bi-lingual service for all primaries and secondaries in Ireland.

By Maureen McTaggartProfessor David BuckinghamDavid Buckingham
Irrationality, subversion, risk, danger, destruction and conflict are - alongside learning and democratic relationships - all in a day’s play for children, says Professor David Buckingham.

If we recognise this, we might get beyond the “rather tiresome polarised, binary logic” that often characterises discussions about play and video games. Can't play just be fun any more?